I don’t know about you, but I have a hard enough time staying in shape. Working up the motivation to get out multiple times a week is a hassle, and my busy schedule leaves me feeling especially lazy when I have free time. Tack that on to the rapidly dropping winter weather, and I’m spent. It’s already hard enough!
But, this season, I’ve decided to stop making excuses and see if working out can be, dare I say, enjoyable. As daunting as it sounds, I assure you, it is possible. Here are some of the things I’ve found to turn my fitness into something I can actually look forward to working towards in the winter.
1) The Necessities: Invest in some high-quality work-out clothes.
First, it is important to figure out what kind of exercise you’ll be doing and prepare accordingly. Even if you’re just exercising indoors, this is vital to keep you motivated. If you’re planning on running, playing sports, or doing anything else outdoors, it is especially important that you have reliable clothing, shoes, and accessories that are suited for the job. Since I live around Boston, I needed some outdoor running shoes that were light and flexible, yet suitable for slush and rain. Places like Footlocker and Adidas are great places to start (and have some great online coupons). For clothes and other accessories, I’d recommend a store like Kohl’s that has a wide selection of well-made, versatile gear. I’d recommend getting a long-sleeve thermal shirt or windbreaker, long pants, and some ear warmers to start (these help keep you warm, but also breathe as you sweat). And, not only will you feel wonderful once you look good working out, the money you spent will guilt you into using it! Perfect.
2) Find a friend!
This step isn’t for everybody, but I personally feel better when I know someone I love is hacking and wheezing beside me as we share in the suffering. Maybe it’s cruel, but it can also make it less daunting. Solidarity is a great motivator. If you can find someone strong-willed that is eager to start with you, you’ll be less likely to shrug off a work-out day because you’re doing it together. It can also be a great way to catch up regularly without taking more time out of your schedule.
3) Make it fun.
You know how, as a kid, going to recess or playing outside with friends was what you looked forward to all day? The majority of us used to think working out was a treat. If you can find a way to channel that silly inner-child, working out becomes less like homework and more like recess. One thing I did was create a new playlist on my iPod for working out. Most people create a setlist of their favorite songs; I created a playlist of all the music I absolutely hate. That way, when I was out running, my motivation to run was to beat yesterday’s time and turn off the never-ending loop of Feliz Navidad. Make it silly and stupid and dorky, so it’s more of a game than a chore. It will go by so much more quickly, and soon you won’t even notice the cold!
With a little creativity and some smart investing, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you notice fitness becoming something you actually like to do. Don’t wait for the New Year’s Resolution list you know you’ll never get to; get started now, so you can rub your progress in everyone’s face when they get started in the spring!